Ashraf Al-Jabari, a businessman from Hebron who maintains ties to the Trump administration, is the only Palestinian so far who will attend the U.S.-led economic conference in Bahrain, the first phase of the launch of the White House's Middle East peace plan.

Why it matters: The fact that Al-Jabari is the only Palestinian willing to attend the event is a testament to the problems the Trump administration is having with promoting its peace plan. That's been exacerbated by fractured relations with Palestinian leadership since 2017, which occurred after the White House's decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Details:

  • Al-Jabari, who maintains a relationship with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, doesn't represent the mainstream of the Palestinian business community.
  • He has close ties to the settler lobby in Israel and to settler leadership in the occupied West Bank. He is part of a settler organization called "The Judea and Samaria Chamber of Commerce" and publicly supported Israeli annexation of the West Bank and a one-state solution.
  • He even formed a new political party that presents itself as opposition to the Palestinian Authority.

The big picture: Influential Palestinian businessmen who were invited to the conference have already publicly rejected the invitation. They include:

  • Bashar Al-Masri, the Palestinian real estate tycoon who was behind Rawabi, a new Palestinian city in the West Bank.
  • Zahi Khouri, the Palestinian-American entrepreneur who holds the franchise for Coca-Cola in the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Abed Alkarim Ashour, a Palestinian businessman from Gaza, who posted on his Facebook page the conference invitation he got from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and wrote: "The Bahrain conference aims at selling Palestine for a fistful of dollars - you in invited the wrong person."

Go deeper: Palestinians say they won't take part in White House's peace plan launch

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 12,220,166 — Total deaths: 553,438 — Total recoveries — 6,696,632Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,111,902 — Total deaths: 133,195 — Total recoveries: 969,111 — Total tested: 38,032,966Map.
  3. Public health: More young people are spreading the virus Cases rise in 33 statesFlorida reports highest single-day death toll since pandemic began.
  4. Science: World Health Organization acknowledges airborne transmission of coronavirus.
  5. 1 🐂 thing: How the world could monitor for potential pandemic animal viruses.
5 hours ago - Podcasts

Inside Joe Biden's economic plan

Joe Biden on Thursday returned to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to give his first major speech on economic policy since becoming the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.

Axios Re:Cap digs into Biden's plans, how they developed and how they may change, with former U.S. Commerce secretary and campaign surrogate Penny Pritzker.

5 hours ago - World

Countries grapple with whether to lock back down as hotspots emerge

Tokyo in the time of coronavirus. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty

Many politicians and public health officials sounded a similar lockdown refrain in the spring: let’s do this right so we only have to do it once.

Reality check: While some countries have thus far managed to keep cases under control after opening up, dozens of countries that had initially turned a corner are now seeing a worrying rebound. They have to decide if and how to return to lockdown — and whether their populations will stand for it.